Oncology Rounds

The latest news and research on cancer care from the Oncology Roundtable.

Ireland's government failed its women. Here are 3 ways to do better.

by Sarah Adam and Deirdre Saulet June 18, 2018

If you have an eye on European health care news, you may have heard about the controversy surrounding cervical cancer screening in Ireland. Since 2008, the Irish public health service—called the Health Service Executive, or HSE—outsourced lab testing for cervical cancer screenings to a Texas-based lab. In recent weeks, the country has learned that the HSE had agreed to lower accuracy testing with the U.S. lab, using manual examination without the use of computer-based imaging that is standard in the United States. As a result, there have been several hundred false negatives and 17 patients have died.

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What 3,000 patients' 'bucket lists' revealed about providing meaningful end-of-life care

By Deirdre Saulet and Soleil Shah May 21, 2018

The concept of a "bucket list" may be an approachable way to engage cancer patients in discussions about end-of-life care. According to a new study published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine, a Google search for "bucket list" turned up nearly 84 million results compared to 4.5 million results for the term "advanced directives."

"Patients don’t see the relevance of an advance directive," said one of the study’s authors, VJ Periyakoil, M.D. "but they do see the relevance of a bucket list as a way to help them plan ahead for what matters most in their lives."

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Upstate Cancer Center's initiative to prevent head and neck cancer through community education

by Deirdre Saulet and Kate Wister May 7, 2018

Head and neck cancers are relatively rare, making up only about 4% of cancers diagnosed. As a result, public awareness of the disease is relatively limited in comparison to more common tumor types, such as breast, lung, or prostate.

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An unintended side effect of cancer surgery: opioid dependence

by Deirdre Saulet and Julia Venanzi April 26, 2018

Editor's note: This blog post was updated on June 13, 2018.

Due to the severity of the disease and treatment, opioids are a critical part of many cancer patients' chronic pain treatment plans. However, cancer patients are often excluded from the national conversation about opioid prescribing—and a new study shows this omission may be harmful.

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What you need to know about Medicare's physician supervision requirements

Deirdre Saulet March 29, 2018

CMS's physician supervision requirements continue to be an area of uncertainty and confusion for many of our members. Here, we have compiled the most up-to-date information on physician supervision for chemotherapy and radiation therapy.

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Your guide to oncology payment reform pilots

by Deirdre Saulet, Kate Wister and Elena Price March 26, 2018

We've seen payers and providers increasingly interested in experimenting with oncology payment models over the past few years. To assist cancer programs that are exploring alternative payments or just want to stay on top of this trend, we've provided examples and links to additional information below.

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Catching up with CAR-T: How centers are building out capabilities and struggling to get reimbursed

Deirdre Saulet March 12, 2018

When FDA approved two CAR-T cell therapies last year, it caused a groundswell of excitement across the country—but many questions remain around implementation and reimbursement. Keep reading to learn how one leading cancer center has reorganized its services to improve care for immunotherapy patients and how barriers to CAR-T reimbursement are raising concerns about access.

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What a colleague's breast health care experience taught us about genetic counseling

by Deirdre Saulet and Ashley Riley February 26, 2018

In a recent conversation with one of our Advisory Board colleagues, we were struck by how pivotal cancer genetic counseling services were in her decision of where to receive her breast health care. Our members frequently ask about the best ways to demonstrate the ROI for this poorly reimbursed service, so we want to share her story and explain how it should change your breast cancer program's strategy.


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